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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 1 February 2003
I bought this book out of curiosity, wondering how the author would attempt to reconcile herself to her rather dubious past, I quickly discovered that she was to make no such attempt whatsoever. She happily relates attendance at Nazi rallies and cosy fireside chats with Hitler, presenting Fascism as a perfectly respectable political opinion, the violence at Moseley's rallies described as being caused entirely by communist agitators.
She comes across as frightfully upper class, and gives lavish descriptions of the interior decor of every house she ever lived in - the phrase "Louis XVI furniture" occurs with astonishing regularity! This is in sharp contrast to her imprisonment - for three years, without any trial or judgement -in the atmospherically described dark and squalid Holloway.
The book is made fascinating, not only by the writer's unashamedly outrageous opinions, but also by the intriguing cast of characters that pass through it: her sister Unity, a stronger Fascist than Diana, who attempted suicide when England declared war on Germany, then spent the rest of her short life searching, it seems in vain, for spiritual truth - Winston Churchill, described throughout as "Cousin Winston" - Evelyn Waugh, who dedicates a book to her - Magda Goebbels, whom Diana states did the right thing by killing herself and her children - and, of course, Mosley himself, referred to throughout by Diana as simply "M", and who remains, through to the last page, strangely enigmatic.
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on 7 May 2002
Lady Mosley - aristocrat, beauty, wit, friend of Hitler and undiluted fascist: a mix that still captivates and fascinates many sixty two years after she was imprisoned with her husband, the Britsh Union of Fascists leader, Sir Oswald, in 1940. This book shows her to be more than an echo of another era. She is still remarkably unrepentant and whatever one thinks about her extraordinary politcs (''such a pity that the jews didn't all go to Madagscar or somewhere,'' she tell us breezily) Diana Mosley remains a strangely compelling figure. Plainly such extremism, one could argue, is at least refreshingly honest, although it must be added, more than a little chilling too.
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on 5 January 2012
"After our four months away we had felt ready to face the Winter and the myriad trivial annoyances inseparable from life in England under a Labour government"

With such a sentence an individual, however brave, humane, well-mannered and considerate, can polarize his or her reading public. With Diana Mosley, however, the dye was in all probability already cast as her reputation had preceded her even though that might have been largely tarnished in the public mind by a hostile press.

I shall attempt to confine my review to the book and not extend any criticism to the author herself. With an autobiography this is not always self-evident. I personally found this book extremely interesting and informative while at the same time felt that there was a certain lack of cohesive planning although the work was chronological enough.

There are two central things in her life she tries to justify in this book - one private and one political. The former is her decision to leave her first husband Bryan Guinness by whom she has already two young children to live with a married man with three children twelve years her senior. The latter concerns her belief that the British Union of Fascists were patriots who would in the last resort fight against Germany and everything that Hitler stood for.

When her affair became known there is no doubt that she was aware of shocking not only her parents that she loved dearly but also very nearly all her close friends. That she persisted, that Bryan behaved like a gentleman, and that they could agree on all important matters for the children's sake showed great maturity on both sides. Although Diana adds a short chapter "Flashback" at the end of this reprint she is still quite reticent in giving the full story. What is clear is that Cimmie, Sir Oswald Mosley's wife, conveniently died of peritonitis after being operated for acute apendicitis, but that Diana had imagined she could have continued being M's mistress because his wife was already quite used to his infidelity. How long this unsatisfactory situation could have pleased Diana is a matter for speculation and entails some doubt about her giving us a true version of her feelings.

If there are doubts about this, there is perhaps even more reason to doubt her when she insists that Mosley's supporters would have loyally fought against the Germans in the war. After all the overtures and friendships made with Nazi leadership in the years preceding the outbreak it is disingenious to pretend that the British Union of Fascists would not have been the first to lay down their arms and help achieve a kind of settlement. Of course this is pure speculation but the fear of this potential disgrace is why the name of Mosley even today is held in eschew.

Don't let this put you off reading this fascinating book. Diana is elitist, but is also warm and witty, a lover of dogs and a good mother to her children, who has met some of the most interesting personalities on the social circuit and political stage of the 20th century. In other domains her testimony shines through, as clear as a mountain stream.
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on 22 May 2014
I bought this thinking I wasn't going to like Diana, but I did, can't say I agreed with everything she said and did, but I did like her, she was interesting vibrant and honest. I think it does us good to read such things, being made to think can never be a bad thing!
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Diana Mosley is the spitting image of empress Livia Drusilla, wife of Augustus, from I Claudius. She does come across as regal and very intelligence. Here we have the true lady Diana.

She was so well connected that she talks about 'world jewry', to gushing blurbs, and she thinks Adolf Hitler presided over an economic miracle during the great depression. She also claims that Oswald Mosley was a champion of the working man! Overall, this book is an eye opener.
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on 8 January 2014
I have always been intrigued by the Mitford family but have only recently read books by Nancy Mitford. For people of this era they are very well read and educated in spite of being educated generally at home. It has brought out the closeness of the siblings which does not come out in other books about the family. Really enjoyed it.
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on 7 February 2013
I have given this 4 stars not because of the subject matter, but for the way some parts are so ridiculous as to be almost comical. The woman's view on life and other people is incredibly dismissive and if this is the product of a privelidged life then give me a working class person any day! Riveting read though, as you push up your dropped jaw from her last outrageous view, it surely drops again on the next page!
I was most gobsmacked at her outrage at being locked up during WW2 - she was a personal friend of Hitler and Goebbels, and the nazi party had sent funds for her husbands fascist Party. They were lucky just to be locked up, a trip to the front would have done them more good and possibly instilled a little humility.
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on 7 April 2013
I couldn't put this book down, she writes very modestly about herself and obviously she is a very intelligent woman who moved in all the right circles as one of her class would do. Her story paces along - lots of lovely anecdotal tit-bits about her famous family and all the people she rubbed shoulders with. I didn't realise she was imprisoned during the war without trial, although her time couldn't have been easy she seemed to cope with the harshness of prison life very well and she certainly wasn't embittered by her experience. She talks adoringly about Mosley who was the love of her life and her sister Unity's sad demise. There is a slightly eccentric Britishness about the family - something that is now long gone - imagine taking your shetland pony into your carriage on a train today! All good stuff for anyone who enjoys social history
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on 21 January 2009
Having read quite a bit about the Mitfords and Diana Mosley I was not very surprised by my overall reaction to this Autobiography. I can't help wondering if the amazing privileges and there for complete and utter contrast to most peoples lives isn't really the true meaning of the title!
Every time that the atrocities against the Jews are talked about Mosley counter attacks with what she saw as a similar horror perpetrated by the English indeed she makes quite clear not only her anti war time government views but also her anti british feelings. I am sure that it must have indeed been dreadful for a member of the aristocracy to have been imprisoned without trial but surely she and her husband must have realized the dangerous beliefs that they held coupled with their families friendship with one of the most evil dictators of the last century (even though ' he was rather kind with lovely hands') was going to impinge on their freedom at a time of World War.I am glad I read the book and would recommend it certainly a lesson in being dazzled by delusion.
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on 24 June 2016
Iwas looking forward to reading this book but was very disappointed in the amount of historical facts given. Diana seemed to go from one party to another and I never felt I knew her true feelings. There was such a lot written in French and not everyone can read or interpret written French.
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